Pick 2


Pick any 2 to be successful.

Don’t believe me?

To some degree, what most people refer to as talent, is nothing more than passion. If you love to do something… you will do it every chance you can. And the more you do it, the better you get. Now obviously there are several uncontrollable factors that determine someone’s ultimate talent and success on the basketball court (height, athleticism, etc.), but in many instances, talent comes from non-stop, obsessive practice. I have never met a great shooter that wasn’t a gym rat… that didn’t make thousands and thousands of shots every single week. Being a great shooter is a choice.

There is no debate that guys like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were born with numerous physical gifts. But so are a lot of people. So why are they NBA All-Stars? Because they have an unparalleled passion for basketball. Because they are gym rats. Because they work on their craft every day.

Same goes for coaching. Who are some of the most talented coaches in college basketball? Coach K? Tom Izzo? Jay Wright? Do you have any idea how much time and effort those guys have put into their coaching skill sets? They love the game of basketball and work relentlessly at becoming the best they can be.

And talent doesn’t have to be all encompassing. You don’t have to be good at everything. You just need to have a specialty… a specific talent that makes you stand out.

Talent is the ability to make the most of what you have with where you are.

I don’t believe in luck. I think unsuccessful people use luck as an excuse. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

That’s why ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get.’

In order to be lucky, you need to be prepared when opportunity knocks.

Do you even know how to prepare? Players, what do your daily workouts consist of? Do you just jack up 300 shots or do you take game shots, from game spots, at game speeds? Do you practice ball handling drills looking down at the ball or do you force yourself to look up (even though you may lose the ball initially)? Do you visualize a defender in front of you when making moves to the basket or do you just do the drill? Do you train with purpose or do you just play pick-up? Equally important, are you a great teammate? Are you the type of player other players like to play with and coaches like to coach? Trust me… you’ll be a lot luckier if you are!

Coaches, do you just study the X’s and O’s or do you work on communication and leadership? Do you put all of your focus on your out-of-bounds plays or do you spend time learning how to most effectively communicate with every member of your program? Do you reinforce great work habits with your players 365 days a year? Do you read, watch film, and network with other coaches?

I realize many resources cost money, which can be a limiting factor for some. However there are numerous resources that don’t cost a dime. Find them. Use them.

If you want to be lucky, you need to be in the right place at the right time.

Instead of waiting for that to happen, you can make that happen by creating real value in every place you go and every person you come in contact with.

When opportunity knocks, will you be prepared to answer?

This one should be obvious. Don’t give up. Never quit. Keep practicing. Keep working. Most people think they are persistent, but in reality, they give up after a couple of no’s or a few minor failures.

Have grit. Be relentless.

Bottom line is this. If you want to be successful, on the court, or in anything in life:

Create your talent.

Make your own luck. 

Never quit.

Thanks for reading, time to get back in the gym.

Alan Stein
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